Also this week: RIP Val Smith, how to do a Reddit AMA, Galileo is overrated, and more.
Very sad news via Jay Lennon: Val Smith has passed away after a long illness. I knew Val, though not well. He was a wonderful, kind man and a terrific ecologist. Val’s research focused on the physiological, community, and ecosystem ecology of phytoplankton, particularly nutrient use and its consequences. He had a keen eye for novel applications of fundamental ideas, as with his recent work on the ecology of algal biofuel production. Smith et al. 2005 PNAS is one of my favorite data syntheses ever, showing that phytoplankton species richness scales with area in a consistent way from microcosms to ocean basins. He will be greatly missed. Obituary here.
Ryan Avent on why academics and other professionals work so hard. Nice reflective essay. One thing he doesn’t mention is that we often feel like we work longer hours than we actually do.
Margaret Kosmala on the ins and outs of a Reddit AMA for scientific outreach. Lots of good practical advice.
Advice on how to keep talkative guys (really, any talkative student) from dominating the discussion in seminar classes. From philosophy, and so somewhat specific to that discipline.* But most of the advice generalizes. Some of it is useful for lab meetings too.
Is Galileo overrated? (ht Marginal Revolution)
*Anecdotally, it’s my impression that philosophy tends to attract the sort of male student described in the post. A type I recognize because I am that student. 🙂
I thought I’d linked to this before, but couldn’t find it, so I’m linking to it now: celebrating achievements…with doughnuts. I can definitely get behind that! It relates to my old post on the little things. We celebrate lab birthdays, but haven’t been in the habit of (formally) celebrating things like exciting results, paper submissions, etc. But I think maybe we should!